Kitson     Works No 5459     Austin 1 0-6-0ST

K5459.jpg

This locomotive was built by Kitson and Co for the Austin Motor Company to work at the Lonbridge plant where it was known as Austin 1.

In 1966 the Warwickshire Railway Society identified that there were normally four locomotives in steam at Longridge  (two at the West Works and two at the North Works), with a fifth acting as a spare. It is worth noting that Austin locomotives regularly needed to cross the Halesowen Joint Railway to reach different parts of the works and when doing so they were required to conform to the Joint Railway’s regulations, including carrying appropriate headlamps. Longbridge East Signal Box would control these movements.

By 1968 following mergers and reorganisations in the motor industry ownership passed to British Leyland.

The locomotive was purchased by Burtonwood Brewery in November 1973 on behalf of the Flint and Deeside Railway Society. It was stored behind the Nant Hotel in Prestatyn until the Society moved to Llangollen in 1975. At this time the locomotive was named Burtonwood Brewer in honour of the brewery, who paid for restoration and fitting of vacuum brake gear required for working passenger trains.

The locomotive was delivered to Llangollen in September 1975 but at that time there was no track to run on but by July 1978 it was able to run on a short length of track on the Llangollen Railway.

The Llangollen Railway began operating passenger services in 1981 but it did so with only this locomotive until Jinty 47298 arrived in 1983.

As an industrial locomotive designed for shunting duties it was not ideally suited to running far on the line due to its limited water capacity.

During 1994 and 1995 it was hired to the North Staffordshire Railway (now the Churnet Valley Railway), and then to the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway during 1996 and 1997. Its ten-year overhaul fell due in 1997, and to enable this to proceed, the Llangollen Railway Trust took on ownership from Burtonwood Brewery in 1998.

It has since reverted to its original name Austin No. 1.

It was again stripped down for major repairs, including work on the motion and welding on the boiler. Since the rebuild was completed in late 2000, it has been available for hire, going to Chinnor for 2001 and part of the 2002 season. It has also spent an extended period on the Lavender Line.

It is currently being overhauled at Llangollen.

K5459.jpg 5459 out of use at British Leyland, Longbridge – May 1972

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